Curated by Shea: July

At Shea, we pride ourselves on staying on top of what’s happening in design news so that you don’t have to—and we pull what’s smartest and most forward-thinking together to save you the time of sifting through it all. It helps us keep tabs on what’s fresh, inspiring, and happening in the world—and we make a few headlines of our own, too.

“How to Create Authentic Design” – Restaurant Development + Design:
Restaurant Development + Design examines how to bring a sense of authenticity to every design, even in a collection of restaurants with multiple locations. This sense of place and meaning can be bolstered by looking at the specific location of a project—its history, culture, community, and the physical space that holds the concept. The piece specifically looks at Summit Coffee, a seven-location chain that has some brand throughlines (color, connectivity to nation, openness, and a whimsical sense), but each spot has its own distinct identity, whether it’s a company or franchise-owned store, that speaks to its location and ownership. And at fast-casual chain Habit Burger Grill, rolling out new locations means staying true to the authentic Santa Barbara style of the original. Finally, Farmers Restaurant Group works to keep things authentic by drawing unique inspiration from each restaurant location, connecting with diners through focal design elements that speak to the place and time of the eatery.

“Shea Gives North St. Paul Landmark Mac’s Diner a New Glow” – Shea:
A Star Tribune story on the revival of Mac’s Diner in North St. Paul, a soon-to-open Shea project bringing a classic back to the neighborhood.

“How Industrial Buildings Are Being Transformed Into Inspiring Workspaces” – Work Design:
More and more warehouses and industrial buildings are being adapted and used as workplaces, and this article takes a look at the British market, where recruiting and retaining is competitive and good facilities make all the difference. A strong transformation of one of these formerly industrial buildings can be a draw for candidates, especially when a cold and soulless building becomes a beautiful and warm workplace. Light and comfort are key for work areas, and these large, open buildings can also serve as ideal showrooms for products.

“Will Socio-Retailing Be the Driver of Future Shop Design?” – Frame:
Shops are becoming social centers post-pandemic, especially as public urban space is on the decline. “Retailtainment” is the crossing of retail and entertainment, and has come into greater relevance of late, with shoppers invited to linger, be inspired by, and enjoy the spaces where they’re also acting as consumers. Some store designs encourage community gathering and meetings, acting as modern piazzas. These stores take retail to a new phase, one of socialization and creativity, where shoppers can connect with brands, staff, and one another—fusing living, working, socializing, and shopping in concept stores that are becoming connective spaces.

“Shea-Designed Macanda Opens Along the Shores of Lake Minnetonka” – Shea:
All the opening news on Macanda, Wayzata’s new dining darling.

“Graphic Design and Architecture: A Collaborative Way” – Arch Daily:
Shea was a pioneer in bringing together architecture and graphic design, but this story looks specifically at how graphic details can be used to create an iconic look for a building that also functions at top capacity. Arch Daily looks at the idea of “supergraphics” making a statement in architecture and how graphic design can be used to solve architectural problems while setting up collaboration networks across design disciplines.

“Form + Function: Seating” – Restaurant Development + Design:
Restaurant seating is one of the most important factors of design (sliding in right behind lighting and acoustics), and this Restaurant Development + Design piece dives deep into the impact of furniture choices on the customers attracted, their comfort, and the size of groups that a restaurant can serve—along with turnover and design impacts. Variety between seating types is important, as is taking into account the kind of behavior that seating will suggest to guests and the advantages of choosing flexible options to help maximize operations at all dayparts. Square footage devoted to seating, as well as cost and durability, must be considered, along with a growing interest in sustainability in furnishings.

“Inside the Post-Pandemic Office: More Stairs, Better Acoustics, and… Wiggle Rooms?” – Fast Company:
In a survey of architects, designers, and companies, office-furniture maker KI asked what kind of workplace furnishings will actually be needed in the future. Top priority was creating a workplace that supports a variety of work styles, and KI saw this trend showing itself in multiple ways: where employees work, how desk space is partitioned, and how companies consider their outdoor space. More workers are looking to get things done away from a traditional cubicle or desk area, and companies are hoping to become more flexible to accommodate this request. It’s also about designing for different types of workers—introverts versus extroverts, or creating spaces with neurodiversity in mind to cater to different light and sound sensitivities. Active workspaces (with height-adjustable desks and work areas that encourage movement and wellness) as well as outdoor ones are also taking top priority as companies strive to consider the holistic health of their employees.

“Shea Client Morrissey Hospitality Has a Media Moment(o)” – Shea:
A handful of recent on Morrissey Hospitality and Elizabeth Morrissey’s initiatives for the future, including the recent Shea-designed Momento in downtown St. Paul.

“The Business Lunch May Be Going Out of Business” – New York Times:
Focusing on longtime power-lunch city Washington, DC, this New York Times story looks at the decline of the business lunch over the past several years—a blight to downtown restaurants, particularly higher-end ones. With the jury out on how many workers will be returning, and lunching, shifts in behavior are affecting fine-dining spots as more workers opt for fast-casual options during the daytime. It’s an up-and-down business, difficult to find discernable patterns, but suburban restaurants are flourishing in comparison to downtown ones come noontime. The demeanor of diners has also changed, as fewer are doing business over lunch and are instead using the meals as relationship-building opportunities.

“Designing Collaboration Spaces with Great Style and Outstanding Sound” – AVTechnology:
Now that they’re constantly on display via video, hybrid meeting spaces need to bring a strong design game. Technology that functions is the most important feature, but aesthetics improve both worker morale and client experience, causing spikes in productivity and improved overall culture. Technology can be incorporated into design thoughtfully, with cameras and cables positioned unobtrusively, audio enhancers incorporated into décor, and a careful blend of styles that makes a meeting space look sleek and high-tech but still warm and inviting for both returning workers and clients alike. It’s all part of creating the modern office, keeping up with the ever-evolving needs of leadership, employees, and those being served.

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